For students in grades seven and eight, trying to find where one fits in at school, and even in after school clubs, can be a real challenge. But a new club in Riverside Elementary School District 96 has the potential to involve students with a diversity of interests from schools across the district.

Superintendent Jon Lamberson is spearheading a new after school club that would give students interested in history, research, writing, photography and creating multimedia projects a place to come together for a single, specific purpose. Lamberson is launching a club that will offer students a chance to research and document the history of District 96 and all the towns that feed into it.

“What I’m going to do is coach a club for seventh- and eighth-graders where students will research and produce a book on District 96,” Lamberson said. “Students will write and edit it so it will be [understandable] at a third-grade level. I also want them to produce a DVD with pictures of the area.”

Lamberson said students will work under an advisory panel of teachers, parents and possibly even high school students with experience in multimedia work.

“I’ve had about a half-dozen residents express interest in the project,” he said, adding that he shared the idea with faculty in late August and they were thrilled.

“They were excited that students will have something they can own,” Lamberson said.

Lamberson is hoping to get the club going by the end of September and have students wrap up the project in May. District 96 includes Riverside, and parts of Brookfield, North Riverside and Lyons, so students will have their work cut out for them.

“This will be interesting. Students will be able to own the type of history they’re interested in. That will be meaningful for them and other students in the district,” Lamberson said. “This is something that is rarely afforded students, something that is meaningful and that will have a long-lasting impact.”

Once students have finished their work, Lamberson hopes to have the book printed and hard-bound.

“This will be used next year,” Lamberson said. “I want students to develop an appreciation for the history of this area, and I want students to influence other students in a positive way.”

Lamberson said the club is open to all students and there will not be a limit on the number of students who want to join.

“There can be a lot of hands in researching, taking photos, making the DVD,” he said. “This will give students a good sense of history, how to talk about history, how to write about history.”

If there is enough interest in this year’s project, Lamberson said, he might consider incorporating something similar into electives students at Hauser Junior High can take next year.

Anyone interested in joining the club or serving on the advisory panel is asked to call Lamberson at 447-5007. Lamberson said the panel likely will meet twice monthly.